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TEXT C. LOOKING AT THE MAP OF RUSSIA
— I'd like you to tell me something about your country.
— I think the best way to get a general idea of a country is to study the map. It's lucky I've got one with me. Here it is.
— Perhaps we had better start with the physical outline of the country.
— Well, Russia can be divided roughly into two main regions — the highlands in the east and the lowlands covering the greater part of the country, with a long mountain range cutting it into two unequal parts.
— You mean the Urals. They form the natural border between Europe and Asia. But the highest mountain chains, as far as I can see are situated in the south and the south-east of the country. What do you call them?
— The Caucasus, between the Caspian and the Black Sea and the Altai in Asia.
— I'd love to go there. My hobby is mountaineering. But our mountains are not so high as yours, as far as I know.
— I believe they are not We have peaks four and a half miles high. But we also have lowlands several hundred feet below sea level. We have steppes in the south, plains and forests in the midlands, tundra and taiga in the north.
— What are the "steppes"?
— They are treeless plains covered with grass. The soil is fertile there.
— And is the tundra like our heather moors?
— Not in the least. It's a kind of frozen desert in the Arctic region.
— And what is the 'taiga', I wonder?
— It's a thick coniferous forest stretching to the south of the tundra. It's rich in animals, valued for their fur like sable, fox, squirrel.
— I'd like to go hunting there, but I'm afraid I would never be able to stand toe cold.
— Our climate is also varied. In the south-west the weather is usually mild and wet; northern Asia is one of the coldest places on earth, and in the south the heat is unbearable. But in the middle of the country the climate is moderate and continental.
— Well, it has been very interesting for me to hear all those things. Thank you very much for your information.
England! with all thy faults, I love thee still,
I said at Calais, and have not forgot it
I like the taxes when they're not too many;
I like a sea-coal fire, when not too dear;
I like a beef-steak, too, as well as any;
Have no objection to a pot of beer;
I like the weather when it is not rainy,
That is, I like two months of every year. George Byron
ESSENTIAL VOCABULARY (П)
border n hedge n, υ resort n cattle n
level n rural adj chemicals n machinery n
steppe n cotton n moderate adj stretch υ, n
desert n pasture n taiga n dock n
peak n tool n fence n picturesque adj
tundra n fertile adj range n vast adj
financial adj raw adj
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